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CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month

Coronavirus cases across the U.S. are likely to peak this month before dropping by July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The state of play: America's rate of daily new COVID cases has declined in recent weeks, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Health officials are urging people to remain vigilant as variants spread, some of which are more contagious and deadly than the original strain of the virus.


What they're saying: CDC projections in four different scenarios of vaccination rates and state reopenings show that the outbreak generally remains the same in each forecast.

  • While cases are expected to spike in May, hospitalizations and deaths will likely remain low nationwide, the agency said. Across all four scenarios, the country's case count is likely to fall in July.
  • High vaccination rates and adherence to safety protocols "are essential to control COVID-19 and prevent surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months," U.S. health officials wrote in Wednesday's report.

At a press briefing Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said "we have a path out of this," but maintained that "variants are a wild card that could reverse this progress we have made."

  • "Simply put, the sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal," Walensky said.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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